Honest Monday Check-in: Nov. 28, 2016

I have to be honest in today's Monday check-in.  I'm okay. I am not thriving like I know I can and I would be lying if I said that the holidays have been easy. I don't have any grand answers except that when I reflect on the last month I definitely did less movement (walking, yoga, exercise), less sleeping, less meal planning and thus grabbing for crappier food options, more wine, less vegetables, less connection and more. I feel like my energy, generally, was dispersed in many different ways, leaving me feeling like I was running around with my head cut off with not a lot to show for it. I did get a new teaching gig and I am grateful and excited to share more! Also, I am spending time enriching my yoga studies through the Vinyasa Krama online training with Rod Stryker. It has been work, but I am so grateful to learn and expand! 

Based on all of this I choose to be kind to me and honor that I am not just sitting on the couch. However, I know that I can feel better, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

If you are curious of more of what isn't feeling good I have captured below. 

My body:

It hurts. Physically my joints hurt, my skin is inflamed and hurts and itches in various places. My physical body hurts because of being out of alignment; I have been teaching, doing workouts out and yoga, but not enough foam rolling and restorative activity. Ouch. Additionally, I feel puffy everywhere. In fact, it isn't a feeling it is a reality because my clothes are fitting a lot tighter in just the last few weeks. And finally, my bloat is awful. I know my tummy is off and not happy lots of times in the day. in fact, almost every time I eat lately my stomach hurts or I can hear the rumbling. Because of all of this I know a little healing will go a long way. 

Emotionally/Mentally

My mind is all over the place. I have a lot on my mind regarding work and home, specifically thinking up various ways to approach each. I am experiencing a great amount of mental spinning (where I take a thought or idea and run with it, usually not for the positive). I am harder on myself, sensitive, and sometimes so anxious I can barely sit still during meditation. This is absolutely a reflection of me being out of balance, in particular not sleeping and more importantly short-cutting my practice to the point that even when I do it I am so tired it doesn't count. I feel connected to something higher than me when I am in nature and when I sit still and find myself in breath and meditation. When I do not do that, the cumulative effect is noticed. In fact, I talk about this a bit in the Pain of Not Practicing post. This awareness will definitely be leverage and motivation for me to show up in my practice because my mind will absolutely benefit. :)

The Process of Healing - why don't more people talk about the process of healing? I am curious.

In reflecting in the last couple days following the peak of feeling crappy I have been thinking a lot about how not a lot of people talk about the process of life or the journey of losing weight or healing from a sickness. I wonder why? It is in the process of pain/suffering where I feel the most alone and confused. I know I am not alone and I reach out to those close to me who often hold me up, but why do I hesitate to share the journey, especially when it isn't pretty? I think it is because it makes me vulnerable. Also, a lot of people share the story of, "one day I had this suffering and then I did x, y, and z and now I feel great!" I am not judging or saying that is not an okay way to share your story, because each one of us gets to choose how we tell our story and how/when we share. What I am saying is that I crave to hear more of the journey and process of others on the way to moving through something that was hard and didn't feel good.

I also hesitate to share sometimes because when you look at my life I am pretty damn lucky. How could someone that has a lot to be thankful for be suffering? It doesn't make sense at all. But then I realize I am not alone in my journey of internal suffering. In fact, we all have these things inside that are here to teach us. And if it wasn't painful we wouldn't have the desire and drive to stand up again and keep moving forward. If it wasn't painful we wouldn't want to make changes and choices in our lives to feel better. And as much as I know that is hard to make changes, especially at the beginning (because sometimes it is easier to stay out of balance), I know what is on the other side, and thus I am very very determined to keep moving forward. I also hope that me sharing the process I am going through as I struggle and get back up again might help just one person.

My Aha-Cycle - Specific to eating, body image, and health (gut health, skin stuff etc.)

I want to go in depth soon about my aha-cycle that I realize I deal with, in particular with my eating and body-image issues. If I am being honest, I am carrying a good 15 pounds, maybe 20 pounds more than what I used to call my set-point weight. In fact, I used to feel chubby during that weight, and now that I have the extra puff (for lack of a better term) and I think, "what was I thinking?" For me it is more than the weight; It is the fact I can feel so awesome one moment and so awful the next moment that I wonder, am I doing it all wrong? Am I defective? Do I simply not have enough will power? And on and on on. So when I was not feeling so hot this last Friday (post Thanksgiving) I pulled out the book, Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth and I found my notes I wrote in the summer. It was pretty incredible what I learned in my reflections from reading this book back in July. (This book moved me faster in my healing of my eating issues than anything I've every done). In my own reflections I quickly became aware of three stages that I am often cycling through. Each stage has a set of behaviors and thought patterns. Essentially, this cycle is one that helped me see the destructive pattern I often find myself in, which ultimately sets me up to not feel good and frankly, think too much about it (food/body) all. 

Here is a pic of the high-level cycle I drew out one day that hit home for me:

In no particular order the three phases are:

  • Connection to Source: Highest good/choice
  • Awareness of positive feelings (or negative) and/or change, leads to Attachment and more focus/attention on food/body.
  • Disconnection to self and not being fully present, feelings of shame.

I look forward to digging deeper into this as I grow and hopefully I can share even more in the future. For now, I will honor that the cycle can exist for me and that I am healing and getting stronger each day. I respect and am accepting of my ability to use my awareness to drop into the present moment and love me exactly as I am today, and tomorrow and the next day. I cannot image that this self love will do anything but help me to make better choices, be kinder and to hopefully thrive. Thus, in sharing I am thankful for this suffering because it has made me more awake and alive. 

So what next?

  1. I am doing everything I can to be fully present in ALL of life. I am challenging myself to feel all of my feelings and slow down. Often times I numb myself or distract myself with staying up too late, looking at my phone, getting a snack or thinking about food too much. Thus, I am not truly living in the moment, right? Also, I realize I am often crabby and impatient at home and at the stem of it all is that I am often thinking about what I need to do to be prepared to teach or do something esle and instead I am doing parenting things. Thus, I am quickly reactive and not my best self.
  2. Honor my truth. I am working closely with my coach to realize and accept/love all of me, the good, the challenging, and the quirky. And instead of constantly try to improve or judge myself, I am working to accept and LOVE it all. After all of this recent awareness I realize that I am so incredibly hard on myself it actually makes life a lot more difficult and amps up my anger and impatience to a pretty high level. 
  3. I will LIVE my YOGA! Daily yoga means living my yoga; each moment I see as my practice. To be kind to myself, my kids, and those I come in contact with. This will lead to nourishing foods, moving my body, connecting, and practice--giving myself the healing gift of yoga to move, change my energetic body and pause my mind enough to connect to the place in me that is unchanging and bright.

I believe in my heart that this small moment of not feeling so hot is a gift to me to adjust and do what I know I need to do to honor me, my path, my blessings and more. I also now know what it is like to physically feel not awesome and to have my weight not budge, regardless of what I am doing. I know what I need and I plan to carry on. I allow the hurt and the feelings. I dig into a deep place of me that will not try to be it all or be perfect but to be present: more breaths, more pausing, more allowing feelings to come in and out. Thus, hopefully more real moments of bliss, laughter, joy and true gratitude with effortlessly flow into my life. 

Am I right? Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have something you are working through and are you allowing or are you pushing it away? Can you learn from your challenges and honor the process? Ask yourself questions and continue to be curious because the lessons are in the everyday moments and your heart. And of course the real sweet spot is allowing it all to happen and find that acceptance in your mind, body and spirit. You are worthy of love today.

Thanks for reading and for honoring you! Wherever you are today and on your journey you are exactly where you should be. Can you give yourself a little more love and grace today? Can you slow down and be a little more present? I know I can and I will try. I look forward to reporting back on how it is going. 

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

p.s. I couldn't resist putting this little cutie and our bright tree in the pic. The tree might be my favorite part of December. :) 

p.p.s I am feeling better now that it is Friday and I have made small changes. I look forward to sharing more. xo

Happiness and LOVE NOW – not once “x” is complete

I have been quiet. I have been contemplating. I have been pausing. I have been trying to get on top of life. You know those moments of life when you think..."I'm going to kick butt at this and then I am going to feel great!" Or the idea of when I just do fill-in-the blank I will be happy or things will seem easy. Well, for me, it is time to let go of that. I am ready to let go of expectations of thinking the feelings of accomplishing “x” is going to make it all feel great. My heart is saying it is time to feel and choose to live and enjoy the now. Life as it is: the messy, the pretty, and everything in between.

a peaceful morning view - my walks help me to remember to live and love!

a peaceful morning view - my walks help me to remember to live and love!

What do I am mean? Let me share a little personal story to make it clearer. As I mention on my about page, I had a huge life shift when I was laid off and went from busy corporate-world mama to...I-am-going-for-this dream-deep-in-my heart mama. At the time it was not super logical and still really doesn’t make perfect sense. I have experience that would allow me to create bigger savings, more vacations, and maybe even a few more sitters. How is this career going to work as a yoga teacher, wellness instructor, and writer? I am not quite sure and I am okay with it. It could perhaps be a mix of both someday and I however it shakes out I am okay with it. The reality is that I actually prayed to be laid off. I still remember the meeting where we were given a heads up that lay-offs were coming. I looked up to the sky and said a silent prayer, “let it be me.” I had been told my job was safe, but I hoped that it would happen to me. And it did. Be careful what you ask for. I knew I needed the nudge from the universe to take a leap and had I not listened to the voice to become certified in fitness and complete yoga training I can guarantee I would not be writing right now (or teaching).

I decided to start with getting my personal training certification and then yoga training for group fitness. I selected yoga because I LOVED the way it made me feel and I thought it would be the hardest to teach. Little did I know my yoga training would change the trajectory of my life. It was so much more than leaving being able to teach yoga. My faith in life, others, and myself has deepened greatly because of my practice. I will elaborate on this in a future post!

My reality now is that I am just at the beginning. The beginning of a different path with "more tools in my toolbox!" This was my ultimate goal. Do I have clarity on exactly where I am headed? Not a chance. What I can tell you is this: I have had glimpses of life feeling more effortless in life and inspiring others in my teaching, glimpses of my ability to have more patience with the kiddos, glimpses of moving past my food issues and into healthy and present-moment eating and glimpses of tapping into my intuition in all aspects of my life. I feel connected with my soul’s purpose because of the work I have done with my teachers. I have had moments where I don't think about food and moments when the extra pounds that have accumulated in the last year and a half start to feel like they are melting away. I believe this is not because I am doing anything special, but being PRESENT RIGHT NOW (yup, all caps are necessary). And when my focus shifts from trying so flippin hard in life (waiting until I have lost the weight as an example)…to my breath, my passions, self-care, and to listening to my intuition vs. what I should do…subtle changes happen with my choices and thought.

Where am I going with this? Let's get a little deeper into the heart of my extra weight and eating stuff. After having my second child I lost most of the baby weight and was feeling pretty decent. Then I got sick with giardia for three weeks (a parasite), and lost a lot of weight. I couldn’t eat much and was miserable. After finally healing from this parasite a big trigger happened: I was afraid of gaining weight. Yes, that little voice inside subtly had me attempting to try not to eat. And little by little I lost connection with me and slowly gained a little bit of weight that added up over time. I realized last spring I needed some help (with my food stuff and gut healing) and the last year I have been digging in hard.

Fast-forward to my recent work—I have been strongly encouraged to love me exactly how I am. Enough said. As humans we are constantly changing and the best thing we can do is accept and love us exactly as we are. I know I am not alone in this journey in a world of constant self-improvement. Let’s just say I take it body part by body part and that seems a lot easier. When I truly look at each body part individually, it feels f’ing amazing to realize how much my body does. It isn’t always easy, but it is a critical part of MY healing journey. I have my amazing coach, Laura Burkey for encouraging me and supporting me in this regard.

I want to add that I think there is a balance between loving yourself and wanting to make positive changes in your life. I think you can have both. In fact, to someone that is struggling with his/her body I believe it is important to validate their concerns and desires because if you aren't comfortable in your body and want to feel better, then by ALL means you deserve to feel better!!! So my friends, that is my current dance—a balance of loving me today AND finding ways to feel better! I have some hormonal things I have been working through as well so I know it is complicated, but just telling me to love me as I am, in my own experience, is not enough but definitely a critical link.

I caveat this all to say that these struggles are true to me and how I feel and are more unrelated to the scale than it sounds. To elaborate, I know in all of my heart that if I truly take care of my body as I know I can and I stay the same exact size/shape/weight I would feel differently about myself than I do today. I would imagine I would feel more confident and rock my body exactly as it is with feelings of strength and pride. However, my current challenge isn’t the weight but my knowledge of how I have not always respected my body with the kindness in the last year plus. Examples: not enough sleep, too many dips in the peanut butter jar, trying not to eat, or not being present and eating so much I am full (like thanksgiving-style full), or trying too hard to make a plan to do better, or eating food that I know makes my body feel super sick, trying to be perfect, or forgetting gratitude of so many amazing things because I will be able to feel these things once I "lose the weight." These examples have, in the last year + have been my realities. It has been a series of moments of me not being present in the NOW with food and more. It has been a perfect storm and the magic and power of my thoughts. I was afraid I would gain weight and I did. Wow, that is powerful, right?

Unfortunately, these moments have included disordered eating along the way. Often I experience a lack of being in my body and disconnecting to the purpose of food. Using food as a way of controlling, yet losing…Every. Single. Time.  I am happy to report I am the farthest from these disordered-eating patterns than I have been in a long time. I know in my heart that I will be able to 100% heal and that keeps me going. I am so very grateful to be able to share that and feel that.

However, I want to share a little more of the power of the mind with you. About a week and a half ago I decided I was going to choose to love me now AND choose nourishing everything: whole foods, sleep, long walks, intervals, more yoga practice inspired by a recent training, and more. And guess what? I started to energetically and physically start shifting. Even my hubby noticed. I was kinder to the kids, more present in the moment and my body was physically changing. When I noticed the shift too I was excited!

This awareness was great and fun and inspiring...until that little voice came in stealing the show. Yup, I heard subtly, "good job, now keep it and up and eat less..you can do this!" Insert shutting off my connection to the present moment and what is good for me. I am sure that was the critical link to those four or five days of progress.

The past five days I have unraveled my presence and been grazing often; at the same time trying to eat small meals. This lack of allowing myself to eat and listen has created this intense sense of control again. This attempt shifts my brain to think "oh, F, we might not get food again!" So I start to think about food ALL the time! Did I eat too much, can I eat again, will this make me sick, did I get enough veggies, water? Etc. etc.

Oh my goodness! A small voice and thought can shift me from actually living and feeling amazing to thinking way too much about it all. Thus, my aha-moment two days ago is that I am doing this to myself. I need to make a conscious choice to not allow that little voice to rule my choices but to know I can be empowered with my food, sleep, movement, thought, feelings and action. When I put my energy into other things AND nourish myself with yummy food, connection with people, writing, laughing, sleeping, meditating and more, everything falls into place. Food isn’t at the center and that feels SO good.

I share all of this because attempting to control my food and weight so that I can be happy once I figure it all out has been the wrong approach for me. The right approach for me is LOVE now. Breath now. Kindness now. Stopping the mind from spinning now. Gratitude today! I need to continue to create situations that allow me to thrive and make healthy decisions most of the time. This is the best approach for me and helps me enjoy my amazing and blessed life.

And finally, practicing every day. Making my practice (sadhana) my priority in my waking moments. This means gratitude for my amazing life, stopping my mind from spinning (do you see a theme), finding confidence, owning my soul’s light so that I can see and enjoy the radiance of others. All of that is a CHOICE. And for those that know me, making my meditation a non-negotiable in my self-care, because my life is better because of it. I plan to elaborate more on the positive impact of mediation for me soon because it has changed my life.

My hope for sharing is simply this: may you realize the power of your mind. May you know that you can find happiness and peace and love in TODAY and in your journey wherever you are. You can be empowered to choose to your thoughts, actions and feelings. And the more you find these amazing things that you already are, the more you will continue to shine even brighter!

 LOVE, YOU, NOW!

 In love, light, and gratitude,

 Kristin

Admittedly, the world and the people in it are not always just; yet the more you blame factors outside yourself—your parents, genetics, “enemies,” taxes, God, conservatives or liberals, the people who betrayed or took advantage of you, your boss, bad drivers, the subway system, the overcommercialization of Christmas or anything else—the more you dilute your power and weaken your ability to shape the life toward which your soul is intent on guiding you.
— Rod Stryker, The Four Desires